Stockton Empire Theatre

1825 Pacific Avenue,
Stockton, CA 95204

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Westland Theatres

Architects: Frederick W. Quandt

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Stockton Royal, Stockton Theatre

Nearby Theaters

50's, many years before the addition. In the 70's the building was enlarged and 3 screens added.

This is a great old Art Deco style theatre right on the end of Stockton’s Miracle Mile district. It’s gone in and out of business for the longest time and hopefully it’s new owners will make headway with it. It has a lot of promise but as far as I know it is going to be devastatingly remodeled. The lobby is going to be torn out. Horrible! It has really awesome old lights hanging from the ceiling and a grand entrance to the main screen.

Originally when it first opened on June 16, 1945 by the San Francisco based Westland Theatres chain, it only had the one large auditorium, but somewhere in time the three smaller newer screens were added on the side. They are not in very good condition but the original Stockton theatre is great. Hopefully we will see a rejuvenation of the property, not an abomination.

Sadly it was destroyed by fire on May 19, 2021. Only the façade and front section of the building survived.

Contributed by Charles Cunningham

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

hellathatguy on August 8, 2007 at 5:54 pm

The theatre is open now and is some kind of coffeeshop/arthousecinema/bar/music venue. here is the website:

kencmcintyre on June 28, 2008 at 2:53 pm

It looks like most of the bookings are for private parties. The San Joaquin film festival will be held at the Stockton in May 2009.

DataGirl on October 4, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Construction of the theater was authorized by the Federal Goverment despite wartime restriction on private construction. The Harvey Brothers (Rodda W. Harvey Sr. and H.V. “Rotus” Harvey) argued that the theater was needed for the morale of the local port workers who were critical to the war effort. Probably Mr. H. V. Harvey’s extensive work as chairman of the theater exhibitor’s war bond effort played a large role.

kencmcintyre on November 7, 2009 at 5:56 pm

From the LA Times in February 1980:

Fire of undetermined origin caused an estimated $175,000 damage to a Stockton theater. There were no injuries. Authorities say the flames gutted much of the interior of the Stockton Royal’s main theater. There was also extensive smoke damage to three adjoining theaters, recently added in a remodeling project at the Royal.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 30, 2009 at 2:10 am

Here is a weblog post by the late Bob Wilkins with several photos of the Stockton Empire both before and after its renovation.

ksutterfield on December 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Ken mc: The State Theater of the photos was located in the 300 block of main street. It was remodeled and renamed the Esquire Theater in 1954.


Mikeyisirish on December 2, 2012 at 2:24 am

A 2011 photo can be seen here.

itheliving on April 1, 2017 at 11:54 pm

Anyone looking for historical pics and info on theaters in Stockton CA should visit historical Stockton on Facebook. Gene Wright has an archive that is superb and complete. That’s right Wright has them all

50sSNIPES on May 21, 2021 at 12:05 pm

I Recently Found This Exactly Not Too Long Ago That The Stockton Empire Theatre Just Got Destroyed By A Fire On May 19, 2021. The Historic Marquee, Sign, And The Front Part Of The Building Were All Survived From The Fire, But The Rest Was Devastated With Damage And The Entire Back Of The Building Was Demolished. It’s Not The Only Fire The Stockton Empire Theatre Was Involved In, Multiple Scenes Were Surrounded By The Stockton Empire Theatre In 2018 But Not Affected The Theater.

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